Sunday, May 20, 2012

Next Adventure: The Middle East

Sorry, I lied. I won't be trading my flip flops for a burka any time soon... but now that I have your attention, I need your help. 

I'm going back home for five days for my Grandpa's memorial service. I can fit all my clothes in a carry on which leaves me one free checked back for the way back to Mexico... I would love to fill it with shoes. 

Greg and Natalie are a wonderful missionary couple who live here on the Isla. They share a whole lot of love with the people who live here, in addition to nice comfy shoes for kids who might not get them otherwise. Check out their blog at

So here's where you come in.... help me fill up my extra suitcase. 

What: They need children's shoes from baby sizes up until size 11. Any new tennis shoes, flip flops or sandals would be worn and greatly appreciated =]

Where: I know many of you who are reading this are either related to me, a good friend, or went to high school with me. SO you know where I live. I'll be putting a box outside my house where you can drop the shoes off. I will also be in the Rochester and Binghampton area, so if you live there, send me an inbox and I'll tell you where to drop them off. Also, spread the word at work, church or among your friends. I know it's late notice but it only takes a second to pick up a cute pair of shoes at Target or Wal- Mart!

When: From May 25th- May 28th

Why: Why should you care enough to buy a pair of shoes for a kid you don't even know? Well, I think because if you are reading this  you have a lot to give, whether you are rich or not. My idea is not give cause you are wealthier than most but somehow to make a sacrifice.  Give something up, something that you are gonna feel. Instead of going out to the movies on the weekend, stay home and rent one. Instead of going out to dinner, make it at home. Instead of buying another piece of clothing you don't need, don't.  Instead of going to Starbucks, use your coffee pot. Sacrifice something.  Mother Teresa asks,

     "Have you ever experienced the joy of giving? I do not want you to give from your abundance... I want you to give of yourself. The love you put into the giving is the most important thing."


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

For when you feel far away...

I’ve been in a weird mood lately, so I’ve been avoiding the whole blogging deal. I hate to sound whiney or unhappy, but the truth is,  life isn’t always a  bowl of cherries.

My grandfather passed away and since then the longing to be with family has really intensified. He was such an amazing man, someone who saw family as a number one priority. He always took the time to show his family that he loved us. Obviously, such a loss is hard to take. It had me wishing I was home and could cry on someone’s shoulder, get a hug, or just sit with someone and reminnce about all the wonderful memories.
My little island

 But, I’m in Mexico… so, I didn’t really have that. I found myself quite down and feeling really isolated.  After a phone call home to my brother, I realized that even though I felt it, I wasn't alone. Instead of looking for all the ways I felt far away, I began to look at all the ways I feel loved. Even here, far away from the place that I call home and far away from my family.

I realized that I get hugs everyday. My students bombard me with them when they come to class, when they leave, and sometimes in between. My kinder students smile up at me, and sometimes slip and call me “mama” or “tia,” which I must say, kinda melts my heart every time.

My church here in Mexico has been so supportive and when they found out my Grandfather passed away they invited me over to enjoy breakfast and sincerely prayed for my family.

Friends Paulina, Andrea and Persi
My friend Andrea brought over cupcakes and was there to listen to me when I needed to talk.

Flor, Miguel, Sarita y Alex
A few weekends back Andrea and I were invited to go to our friends’ hometown in Merida where we were treated like part of the family. Miguel and Flor drove us to Merida, provided a place for us to stay, and chauffeured us around the whole weekend. We ate all our meals with their family and had a great time joking around. It reminded me of the times spent with my own family and it was so nice to feel like I have a family here as well.

Family Dinner in Merida

God provides for us no matter where we live. He knows we need to feel loved. If  we concentrate on all the ways He shows us his love through the people around us,  we will be overwhelmed. He knew how hard it would be for me to go through this time “alone” in Mexico, and He even provided a way for me to visit my Grandparents in Florida over my break. I had the opportunity to spend some time with my Grandpa in the hospital and to say goodbye, even though I didn’t know then that that’s what it was.

So here’s the cheesy part. No matter what you’re going through, no matter how isolated you feel, you are loved. Start counting the ways that God shows you His love. If you’re reading this and don’t believe in God, start counting the ways you are loved by people, cause it’s interchangeable. We are able to love because He first loved us. Appreciate the people God has placed in your life TODAY. Appreciate their encouragement, their smiles and the hope they offer.

Whether you live close to family or far away, know that some things never change and whether you feel it everyday or not, YOU ARE LOVED.